Luminous Void: Docudrama (2019)
Title: Luminous Void: Docudrama
A Film By Rouzbeh Rashidi
County of Production: Ireland
Genre: Experimental, Horror, Science Fiction
Duration: 71 Minutes
Production: Experimental Film Society
Funding Body: The Arts Council Of Ireland
Luminous Void: Docudrama stands in a league of its own among documentaries. It begins with the peculiar rites and fantasies of a collective of filmmakers operating under the Experimental Film Society's banner before spiralling into a manifesto of luminescence and resonance. This mesmerizing journey, which views cinema as a cosmic ritual intertwined with erotic delirium, also serves as an unconventional tribute to the art of filmmaking. Rouzbeh Rashidi's elaborate visual style sets forth visionary scenes that reimagine cinematic enchantment as a feverish phantasmagoria.
Michael Higgins, Maximilian Le Cain, Jann Clavadetscher, Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Vicky Langan, Cillian Roche, Caoimhe Lavelle, John Murphy, Floriana Mancuso, Iva Kozomara, Julia Gelezova, Suzanne Walsh, Xiao Lan Jiao, Klara McDonnell.
Jann Clavadetscher, Michael Higgins, Vicky Langan, Maximilian Le Cain, Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Rouzbeh Rashidi.
Rouzbeh Rashidi and Atoosa Pour Hosseini.
Additional Sound Recording:
As 2020 approached, a momentous year that marked the 20th anniversary of the Experimental Film Society (EFS), my colleagues and I concluded our work on an ambitious project, Luminous Void: Docudrama (2019). This film was the product of my profound desire to encapsulate and vividly portray EFS's quintessential spirit and ethos.
Our creation can be described as a cosmic carnival, a whirlwind of visionary delirium and erotic obsession. It invokes a realm that is as formally challenging as it is luxuriously secluded, resembling Kenneth Anger's pioneering work, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954).
In our 'luminous void', as the film's evocative tagline succinctly phrases it, we declare that "space is abolished, cinema is present". This bold assertion underscores our belief in the omnipresence and pervasiveness of cinema, transcending physical and temporal boundaries.
With its eccentric and decadent manifesto, this film weaves in sequences suggested and performed by my fellow EFS filmmakers. Each of them has contributed their unique vision and creativity to the overarching spectacle we collectively aimed to present.
However, this film is more than just an artistic endeavour. It also marks the culmination of a distinctive era of filmmaking within EFS. It stands as a melancholic, poetic, and deeply nostalgic homage to its history, reflecting on our embarked journey and the creative milestones we've achieved along the way.
“Rashidi’s mise-en-scene across Trailers, Phantom Islands and Luminous Void: Docudrama has developed towards a crescendo of formalist bliss.” - Peter Larkin
“Ultimately, the most important thing might be that it sheds light on the dazzling comradeship that informs the particular brand of chaos present in Luminous Void, Rashidi’s own practice, as well as the practice of EFS in general – chaos which aims to stay responsible towards both the past and the present of cinema.” - Bartol Babić Vukmir
“Some viewers will recognise members of the Experimental Film Society. They are a Fringe Society on the margins of decency and good sense. We have slowly entered the realm of the mythic – but a broken, indecipherable myth… The spectator is a pinball pinging between The Wizard of Oz and Carmelo Bene, between Wild at Heart and pink erotica… The prodigious cinema of Rouzbeh Rashidi and his fine feathered friends.” - Adrian Martin, The Fringe Experience
“it initially subverts our expectations, only to exceed them by far, as the film evolves into a beautiful, genre-defying (and genre-redefining) chimera – a light-breathing monster with a documentary-turned-neo-noir head and anachronistic period drama body sporting expressionist wings, bizarre avant-horror scales and a stingy tail of an erotic, occult fantasy.” - Nikola Gocić
“I think of myself as a medium. There is a portal between the universes, and I mediate or transmit energies as I create films. It is because of this that I see my practice as . . . alchemical. Or shamanic, even. Because when you are making a film, things happen that are completely out of your control. And the job of the director,” he insists, “is to enter into this chaos. You can control this in editing.” - Hilary M. V. Leathem